I agree, the US education needs to be stepped up. But I would warn the government against making China it's benchmark or model program. These kids here are wound way too tight; the schools start preparing them for the college entrance exam as early as 1st grade. It's bad enough that even current school teachers are afraid to put their own children into the public school system.
Also, yeah, these guys are great at math and science, but they lack any creativity or individual spirit. So, just a warning USA: as you begin your massive education reformation, be wary of designing a system that churns out very high scoring, intelligent, but completely impersonal robots.
TEFL English Teacher - Shenzhen, China